“Glocal Education” Through Virtual Exchange?

Training Pre-Service EFL Teachers to Connect Their Local Classrooms to the World and Back


  • Fabian Krengel Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Germany)


A key goal of global education in language teaching is to “have students ‘think globally and act locally’” (Cates, 2013, p. 278) – an idea in line with the concept of glocality. Virtual exchange – i.e. connecting learners with different lingua-cultural backgrounds over extended periods of time via digital communication technologies (The EVALUATE Group, 2019) – is a promising approach towards this aim. O’Dowd suggests designing such exchanges following a “transnational model” (2019) in which learners collaborate on shared tasks based on local and global real-world problems using a lingua franca. These ideas are compatible with European policy discourses on global education (Schreiber & Siege, 2016), aiming at supporting learners in becoming agents of change in an increasingly globalized world. Within the context of a trilateral project between universities in Germany, Turkey, and Sweden, this paper explores how global education can be integrated into foreign language teaching with the help of virtual exchanges through a synthesis of two models of virtual exchange (O’Dowd & Ware, 2009; O’Dowd, 2019) and the complex competence task approach (Hallet, 2012) to task-based language teaching. A transnational virtual exchange between these universities exemplifies how such a telecollaborative project can be implemented. During the exchange, pre-service EFL teachers compare and analyze cultural practices and educational frameworks to design tasks dealing with global issues that can be implemented in their respective local classrooms through virtual exchange.